The Bible says plenty about money management: work hard, pay our bills, avoid debt if possible, not cosign for others, pay taxes, care for fellow Christians, and save for a rainy day. And, we must be content with what we have:
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” —Hebrews 13:5.
Let’s explore each principle in more detail.
Work Hard. Those who can work but don’t shouldn’t eat! Remember the children’s story about the hard-working ant and the lazy grasshopper? It’s based on a biblical proverb (Proverbs 6:6-11 and 19:15).
Avoid Debt. Going into debt moves an individual from freedom into slavery (cf. Proverbs 22:7). Is debt contrary to God’s ways? Not necessarily, but there are risks and consequences. Here are a few tips to help reduce them:
- Don’t borrow unless it’s necessary. Remember that borrowing turns us into a slave and any money we borrow will probably cost a lot more than imagined.
- Put ‘skin in the game.’ Insert as much of your cash as possible to reduce the total amount of debt and the payment.
Never cosign!! First, the Bible tells us not to do this (Proverbs 22:26). Second, it’s risky. It’s as good as borrowing the money yourself since you’ll be responsible for repayment if the primary signer defaults. Another disadvantage cosigning may bring is that it can significantly stress or ruin close relationships.
Pay bills and taxes. God and His Christ have made it very clear that we’re to care for others and honor the authority of those placed over us. We do this in part by paying others what we owe and satisfying our tax requirements (cf. Luke 20:20-25). Paul tells us to pay our debts and therefore owe nothing (cf. Romans 13:8), and we learn in Psalms 37:21 that those who don’t pay their debts are wicked.
Be Charitable. Jesus gave us two commandments: serve God appropriately and treat man charitably (cf. Matthew 22:35-40). We’ll be judged by our obedience to those commands. (i.e., Matthew 25:31-46).
Save. I want to stress the importance of setting funds aside for a ‘rainy day.’ Many of us live paycheck to paycheck, praying that we don’t lose our job or suffer a catastrophic event. The lifestyle leads to stress and broken relationships—both of which can be mitigated by living within our means and regularly saving some of our resources.
What’s next? Have you ever wondered how the earliest Christians put Jesus’ example and God’s words to work in our New Covenant era? We’ll find out next week in my article Christianity Before the Baggage.
Blessings and peace,